Pfizer says leukemia drug met 1 of 2 goals in late-stage trial

MarketsAssociated Press

Pfizer said Tuesday that an experimental blood cancer drug met one of its two goals in a late-stage trial, as patients who were treated with the drug were more likely to have a complete remission.

Pfizer's trial is designed to study the drug, called inotuzumab ozogamicin, as a treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia in adults. Patients in the trial are adults whose cancer has not responded to previous treatment or has returned after treatment. The second goal of the study involves how long patients live, and Pfizer said that data isn't available yet.

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The company said patients who took the experimental drug were more likely to have their cancer fall below detectable levels than patients who received only standard chemotherapy.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia is an aggressive type of leukemia. It is the most common type of childhood cancer, but the disease can be treated effectively in children. The prognosis for adults is not as good. Pfizer says a majority of adults diagnosed with the disease are not cured, and among patients who suffer a relapse or whose initial treatment fails, the five-year survival rate is less than 10 percent.

Inotuzumab ozogamicin combines a cell-killing chemical with an antibody that is attracted to a substance found on the surface of certain types of cancer cells. Pfizer also studied the drug as a treatment for a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but stopped after a late-stage trial failed.

Shares of Pfizer Inc. rose 9 cents to $35.10 in morning trading.